Friday, 18 December 2009

Leaked document alludes to no concrete financial commitments

Cherelle Jackson, Environment Weekly, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 18 December - A leaked document outlining the proposed decision by the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen makes no mention of any numbers in regards to finance of climate change adaptation and mitigation.  The document which is a draft version to be signed by those representing parties to the Kyoto Protocol specifies a limit to global emissions at 1.5 degrees proposes a Copenhagen Climate Fund to be established as a result of the meeting.

Titled the 'Copenhagen Accord' it states: "We decide that the Copenhagen Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity building, technology development and transfer."

This was the only mention of finance in the whole document.

But money matters have long been a point of argument at COP15, as developing countries, facing the  imminent threat of sea level rise, droughts and extreme weather events, demand high compensation and assistance from developed nations at the conference.

The financing is intended to help poorer nations to build coastal protection, modify or shift crops threatened by drought, build water supplies and irrigation systems, preserve forests, improve health care to deal with diseases spread by warming, and move from fossil fuel to low-carbon energy systems, such as solar and wind power.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) last week announced that the proposed US$10 billion dollar a year discussed amount falls short of a responsible number.

Dessima Williams, the Chair of the group said: "AOSIS outlines specific financing mechanisms in it's proposal to the Conference of the Parties. The document demands developed country Parties to provide new, additional and predictable financial resources to support enhanced action on mitigation and adaptation in all developing countries.  The provision of financial resources shall be guided by the principles of the Convention and the priorities of developing countries that are Party to this Protocol, especially particularly vulnerable developing countries."

On Thursday the US pledged $100 billion dollars to a fund to assist developing countries, but it came with heavy conditions, which include but not limited to certain commitments by China.

EU leaders ended a Brussels summit last week with a three-year deal to pay 7.2bn euros to help poorer nations cope with climate change.  But some say the sum offered by the EU is inadequate.  The 7.2bn euros is Europe's contribution to a proposed package of $10bn a year designed to help Africa, island nations and other vulnerable states cope with climate change from next January until 2012.

This however is not enough according to Williams who says an adequate amount should be at least $86 billion or as high as $250 billion dollars in three years.

"When we talk about adequate levels of financing think about the Philipines, think about the water loss in Kiribati, what will it cost to give people a guarantee of clean water in every country in the 21st century. Is it $1 billion dollars? No.

"So we are clear that the figures have to be raised and we welcome all the negotiators including EU for putting more ambitious figures on the table."

Other leaders have pledged numbers, but no deal has been made to make them obligated.  Britain has said it will contribute $1.3 billion over three years, and Sweden will give $1.2 billion.  The Dutch say they will contribute $442 million dollars over three years, and the Belgians $221 million.  But Europe, along with other rich countries, have a poor track record on meeting its commitments to climate finance.

With a few hours to go in negotiations, only time will tell if the developed countries will maintain their bad track record or not, because for now, the numbers are but empty promises until they sign a deal.

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